ICFP: Four Takeaways from the 4th International Family Planning Conference

ICFP: Four Takeaways from the 4th International Family Planning Conference

 {Photo credit: Matt Martin/MSH}About 20 of the nearly 30 MSH staff attending the 4th annual ICFP gather for the opening ceremony.Photo credit: Matt Martin/MSH

Three weeks ago, nearly 3,500 family planning researchers, program managers, and policymakers came together in Nusa Dua, Indonesia to discuss the latest research findings and best practices on family planning at the 4th International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP). It was the largest gathering of family planning enthusiasts to date.

Nearly 30 MSH staff from 8 countries attended ICFP, showcasing our health systems expertise and experiences in family planning.

Moving forward, it is clear the following four areas are critical for the international family planning community to prioritize:

  1. Youth. Youth are—and  must continue to be—at the forefront of the family planning agenda. From the historic number of youth attendees, youth involvement in conference organization and session moderation, to the engaging and illuminating technical content of oral sessions, posters, and side events, youth leadership and participation rang loud and strong throughout the three-and-a-half days. Key topics at ICFP and for the future include: innovative and effective family planning programs for youth, meaningful participation in health programming by youth, strengthening the voices of youth for family planning, and research around youth contraceptive needs, desires, and access.

  2. Country ownership. The theme of the conference, “Global Commitment, Local Action,” could not be more true: Change cannot happen without local actors driving the process for family planning achievements.

  3. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including those for universal health coverage (UHC), require family planning to be part of the conversation. Family planning is integral to achieving global goals for health and development. Incorporating family planning and reproductive health in universal health coverage mechanisms can help increase access and achieve the SDGs. Increasing access to voluntary methods of quality family planning helps reduce maternal mortality, prevent child deaths, and contribute to an AIDS-free generation, and will amplify progress made in economic development, education, environmental protection, and other development arenas.

  4. Accountability. With many more countries and organizations making commitments to Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), it is critical that the global family planning community hold ourselves accountable to meeting those commitments. It is great (and somewhat easy) to make a commitment, the hard part is to follow through on them.

Get involved

Join MSH and others as we continue to increase access to quality, voluntary family planning by strengthening health systems and showcase the voices of family planning, especially youth.


ICFP: Youth: Today’s Family Planning Leaders

ICFP: Ensuring Access and Accountability for Family Planning through Universal Health Coverage

More about MSH at ICFP